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tv   [untitled]    February 3, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm PST

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received it, reviewed it or followed up so that you know you may have concerns of the housing inspector but you know the other departments are doing what they need to do? >> one of the things that are interesting about the major code enforcement code, the health, fire and building and housing code, planning code as well but it's dealing more with land use issues. the code that i just mentioned they were developed and meant to operate individually and separately. so there does need to be a synthesis there especially in the abatement process which i will get towards the end. the way i communicate to find that out is through a phone call or e-mail or whether it's through a task force case, i may find out that way otherwise it's difficult to keep track of that. there isn't a good
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system to be able to do that. currently the department of building inspection will allow somebody to go on the city website now and be able to see whether or not we have an open code enforcement case department wide on a particular address and what the permit -- activity is. it's my understanding that it doesn't have it yet. >>supervisor scott weiner: seems to me that it's more of a centralization for the information for the department and the public and the ability of the department to know that other departments that should be involved are involved. it's incredibly important. i think it's a big missing piece where you have people from the department doing their very best but you don't have that centralized overarching code about this property or this landlord tenant situation to make sure it's addressed. i think it's something that we should all be working toward.
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supervisor kim? >>supervisor jane kim: thank you, i had a very specific question but i'm going to start with a more general question now. i think a lot of questions that i hear a lot from our constituents, i think is a good discussion to have. why isn't everything just housed in one department. it isn't conceivable that one couldn't handle all to be able to do all of that in one house because i think that -- i see someone shaking their heads now. i don't understand why we can't do that. most of our constituents find it very confusing to have so many departments to go through and one follows up and one doesn't. as we try to make this work, it's not going to work. we can hold these hearings about better communication and better --
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alliance and better data but we see mostly doing the same work. >> yes, this is definitely a policy issue where there would be to be more collaboration to allow that parallelism to work and the departments would need to address that. as being very passionate about code enforcement it's sometimes frustrating for me to take the actions i need to. one of the reoccurring themes i'm seeing is the city isn't getting the biggest bang for the buck for code enforcement because we don't have the same type of documentation within all the various departments. one of the interesting things while the disciplines are different, a judge or jury are going to look at it if that's the case going fort to the city attorney they want to see
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that they are all going to this particular case and the difference is what we got in code enforcement. >>supervisor jane kim: this is my more specific question. what do you do in a case where a department has decided a case has been an abated and you don't agree with that assessment. this is what i hear. i know for example one issue our department worked on was figuring out additional layers of inspection and around bed bugs which is a huge issue throughout the city but in particular in the tenderloin. i guess my question is if there is a disagreement about whether the bed bugs of been an abated or not, what was the process to get some sort of agreement on that? >> first of all, that is an excellent question, the rules and regulation that address the bedbug are dealing with
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the health code, the primary code. whileey won't say we necessarily agree, the inspector saw something different. we require the pest control operator to follow those requirements setforth by the health department and i'm sure doctor will speak more on that issue. however there really isn't a synthesis in the code in this particular area. they are meant to operate in that area and that may be from a policy standpoint that it board wishes to take a look at. our inspectors may have been out at that time and saw it documented differently. sometimes joint inspections are warned and because we are dealing with different departments and different divisions, that is not always available.
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>>supervisor scott weiner: supervisor cohen has a question as well. >>supervisor malia cohen: we have all afternoon. i have nothing afternoon to be here with you. stop rushing. >> i was told 10 minutes. >>supervisor malia cohen: don't wore about that. >> thank you. >>supervisor malia cohen: we'll let you know when that time is up. one of the things that i'm keying in is the stellar system. there is multiple recommendations about this system and i have heard about it for three years. when is it going to be up and operational. what the heck is taking so long. how hard can it be? you can address them in any order. >> i will tell you that as one of the managers, we've been spending a lot of time committed to getting this up in total because you are looking at a permit tracking
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system, a complaint tracking system and a major data transfer of data from the existing complaints tracking system and permit tracking system, socio these are huge records, probably 3 or 4 projects in one. >>supervisor malia cohen: how long have we been working on this project. >> the director is working on that. >>supervisor malia cohen: i know that you have been working on this project. >> i have been working on the -- project now. my inspectors go into the field and have to take notes and post a code of violation and put it into the system. what i want out of the system is that they will be able to go in the field and post it on a tablet and be instantly able to download and it's there and when they come back they will have that information on the tablet. that's what i'm in the process of testing. >>supervisor malia cohen: let
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me back up. how long have we been implementing this? >> i believe it's around two years. >>supervisor malia cohen: i know you have this answer. >> good afternoon supervisors. first of all everybody anxious to get the program roll out, but we have few issues there because the code enforcement part we are leading the nation, no other department have our complicated system, but sarah's group tracking the group pretty well. the code enforcement >>supervisor malia cohen: how long have you been working to
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implement stella? >> first of all we try to launch it end of march, but after we find out there are lots of issues we got in the code enforcement we will have a delay on it. also because i think in time everybody suffered the same thing, the it people hard to find. instead of having two more it, we are losing three more because of the housing crisis or other from the outside consultant trying to hire more. >>supervisor malia cohen: how long have we been working on implementing stella? >> the press release when the contracts were signed were october of 2011. in october it will be 2 years. about that. >> roughly 4 years.
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>>supervisor malia cohen: 4 years. okay, now we have a relationship with a vendor that it's already been created. now we are in the implementation stage, testing. i agree, we don't want what obama went through with obamacare. this is just as important. we are testing. when will the testing stages be over? >> it's my understanding from a meeting that we had recently the testing is about the next couple months and looks like this is going to roll out sometime towards the end of the spring. >>supervisor malia cohen: okay >> at least that is what it is right now depends upon what happens with the testing. there are a lot of features that we wanted to provide including greater transparency so the citizens had not only see the summary of the activity, but also be able to
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see the notices of violation online and the information from the department of building inspection and department of planning. it takes a while when you are dealing with a plan that you have to mold to your particular environment. this is one of the larger jurisdictions as far as the complication of the type of code enforcement process we have. so this was not an easy situation to actually map this out. but, in any case, i have very good view of what's happening with it and i'm very encouraged by what i see, but it does take a while to make sure that every part of this process is within that system and we have fields for everything that we've captured now that we'll be able to do the data transfer into the stella environment. it will take a while and the staff
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will need to learn how to use it. the mobile office in the features in the field, it's very powerful as far as that is concerned. i'm very much looking forward to it allowing my division to be much more efficient and transparent. >>supervisor malia cohen: thank you very much. >>supervisor scott weiner: i know we gave you your time limit and we have questions. that's okay. it's very important. i guess the question is and i will say i think you referred this before at a recent, a very extreme order situation in grand view avenue in my district where there was very limited egress and ingres and in my view and the fire department's view a fire hazard to the neighborhood and different departments have been out there and nothing is happening and it's very frustrating situation meeting in my office and ultimately we got the guy
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out of there and there was alternative housing for him that was safe and sanitary and i want to thank you for that. it really did point to the challenges around could -- coordination and different departments go out there. so, i know we will consider legislation whether it's around the code itself or about coordination. but how do we coordinate because you have in a very sort of mandatory and consistent way because we have all of these coequal departments. the departments don't manage each other. how do we do that? is it the city attorneys office code enforcement that takes coordinating managing role, is it the mayor's office, i just, i would like to understand how we can do that because otherwise we are going to continue to have this very
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decentralized approach that fall through the cracks. >> that required organizational changes through department and also require legislative changes to the abatement process within each one of those codes. in this particular instance one of the departments was looking at to whether or not there should be a joint emergency order and the problem we are faced with if we are issued that by the department of building inspection director, the chief fire marshall and the director of public health, one of the problems that would come up with, whose code abatement process would be the one that would be followed? because whether you are issuing any kind of a notice of violation or emergency order or whatever, there has to be the administrative process and again, these codes were developed to operate from a code enforcement standpoint independently. so the first
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thing that e would look at if this is desirable from a policy standpoint would be are all of these codes do they have the same types of provisions with respect to the issuance of civil penalties, what is the criteria, what is the administrative process, are they similar, can they work in unison. all of these types of thing will be the first things to ask the city attorney. we work very closely with the land use division and the code enforcement and the groups we work very closely with them in the housing division. but i have a legal background and i understand these things in a way that perhaps others might not. so we work with them very carefully, but that will be two things that you will have to look at. let me give you an example. section 204 of the housing code talks about civil penalties should be considered in such a way that the length
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and the nature of the violation, the capability of the property owner to have complied and essentially when former deputy city attorney when he was in the city attorneys office, he went into housing code and amended that. i don't believe that provision is in the other codes. that would be one thing to take a look at to make sure that if you are going to issue civil penalties or issue administrative penalties or with respect to the administrative hearing process that there will be parallels between each of the codes and i believe the director may have some comments. >> i have one suggestion. first of all we can set up a task force, either you can dictate to the city attorney or whatever department head to run and cochair with all the other departments. the second question is regarding how to centralize it. we have
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available out then we can slowly to ask other department, the fire health department to skralz all -- centralize all the data into one system in the future, not now in this moment. the only thing using a phone call and e-mail right now. >>supervisor scott weiner: i agree we need to move in that direction. thank you director. okay, you can continue with your presentation. >> we were talking about the organizational process of how a code enforcement case goes through a process principally with dbi but primarily in a housing division. if we don't get a case in a hearing, we are going to do a staff report and we are going to go to the litigation committee which is
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a subcommittee of our building inspection commission and go into closed session and talk with the city attorney about getting approval to the city attorney. it's a smaller percentage because of the type of criteria that the case has to meet in order to make that kind of referral. if not, then we are going to use the other code enforcement tools. we are going to ask for an order to be recorded on the property and keep billing them for assessment of cost for extended code enforcement. let me go through some of these. we have detailed procedures on how to deal with a code enforcement case which is identified by the in spector and senior inspector and myself. we have a data sheet online now that the member of the public can look at and
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it's a different format because state law says that certain officials cannot have their personal information on it. essentially that is the information. the notice of violation gives detail as to the nature of the violation when the items to be completed and date and time for the reinspection. we are very specific about that. one of the things we do in housing is that notice of violation has a very detailed bullet point that tells the property owners what's going to happen if they don't comply. we tell them they have to comply within the specified timeframe and there will be a cost if they don't and they can be referred to the franchise tax board and any violation is a public nuisance and give them information about if a permit is required and if they don't comply within the timeframe or facilitate the inspection and the notice of violation has
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information saying if you can't make that date and time, you need to reschedule with us and you need to notify the tents pursuant to local and state law. that's on our notice of violation. when they don't comply and we go out there and we can't determine because they didn't facilitate a reinspection and we do a reinspection, we send a warning to them and say you have not complied, the time for compliance has come and gone. you are now an accruing assessment of cost. to minimize that and avoid additional code enforcement actions, please comply and facilitate and inspection. we add that because the assessment of cost based on changes from the board of supervisors occurs now when a notice of violation is not complied with when the timeframe is specified. it's a long administrative process. we want them to know what's going to happen and we'll inform them with the better
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results we get. if they don't apply, they will send a bill when the case is opened and when it's closed and this will give you an example of what the item was and the item what we bill for and that is a sample that we itemize the bill and the action we took and what the amount was that they were billed for. if they don't pay that then we come before you usually in july or august of every year and we ask for the ones that have still open cases or even if they are closed an they haven't paid their assessment of cost that we ask that you put that on the other tax bill and the board has been very supportive of that. before we get to that point there is at least two or three hearings where the property owner that is opportunity to talk with us if they think there is some kind of an error. there is a directors hearing that the department has before we can come to you and they get it
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reported on their tax bill if they don't comply. that is an effective tool. >>supervisor scott weiner: this maybe more building, but in terms of moving away from the larger buildings to the single family homes or maybe small buildings where the never ending construction project or half the building is chopped off and nothing ever happens, is that more of a building division question as opposed to housing? >> vacant buildings and the construction issues will be more of something that dan lourary would address. >>supervisor scott weiner: okay. i will talk to him about that. we can do it when you come up later. >> this is to give you some information regarding our over all cases in the last couple years. normally the total number of inspections performed is higher. we are currently have seven housing
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inspector vacancies which have been filled. so these numbers will go up. the number of cases to the city attorney are smaller. we have seen 11 cases in 2012. it doesn't mean 11 properties. there can be several properties that have more than one open cases of notice of violation. and that also shows what we collected in assessments of cost. but went to the board of supervisors for those years would be in addition to that department wide. there was another about $167,000 that went to the board the following year in 2013. it was about $250,000. this doesn't include city attorney awards. we are getting to that in a bit. what was the criteria that the housing division uses and typically the building inspection. this is the criteria that the housing
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division as to whether or not it should be referred to the city attorney. an accumulation of open cases or properties that have open cases owned by the same person. an accumulation of maintenance issues, life safety issues or a history with this particular property owner or property where they don't respond to the notices of violation. obviously if you just have a broken window, that's not necessarily a city attorney case, but if it's the accumulation of issues that really allows us to be able to then use our resources to be able to go to the city attorney. we have found that our collaboration with the city attorney has been a productive one. there is page two of that. now i want to be able to go to one of the cases. this will be one that supervisor cohen is very familiar with. this was the branding lawsuit. a property owner in bayview with several properties with several open cases. we sued him and got a
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judgment about $800,000. but as you can see we are looking at various items. we have water damage, leaks, ceiling and wall damage, floors, carpet, tiles, windows, doors, locks. each one of these items we have to verify compliance on each and every notice. so our notices of violation don't include one item, but several. the record is a 35 page notice of violation for a residential hotel. he we had what was over 400 individual items that we had to address. so the city attorney collaboration has been a very productive one for us. we have a dedicated housing inspector and senior that deals both with city attorney task force inspections and referrals. let me say that all code enforcement cases with the housing division are addressed from beginning to end within that division. that's for
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consistency. now when a case gets referred to the city attorney, we will have those inspectors that specialize and are dedicated and work on that because as complaints are coming in we need to respond to those. a city case requires additional support in additional reinspection, photos and keeping the city attorney apprised. we have specialist that deal with this as well. >>supervisor malia cohen: are these specialist across the city? >> citywide. they go anywhere and deal with the cases. in 2012 we were asked to participate in citywide task force participation. they don't necessarily have to be housing code violations. but they are getting the types of complaints in that building that cross interest
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departmental lines. we issued 25 notices of violation which translate to 320 housing violations. we had additional reinspections and when you get to the different departments that you have not seen before and make sure you get that information to the city attorney. in 2013, 20 notices of violations issued because of reinspection we found additional violations and because of the nature of violations we'll sometimes issue a specific notice for heat or illegal occupancy and separate notice for the maintenance items because they have a separate item for compliance and we take it through that process. some of the cases maybe opened because the work has been done but not seen the payment of cost and this is an overall participation in the city
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task force case. now, let's talk about what happens as far as civil penalties and cost award. this was not collected but $2.3 million. what was collected $100,000 a little less than that and is still in the process of being collected. when you see these types of awards, other property owners might take notice. when we got the branding award, it gave other property owners that might behave in the same way pause. when we filed the lawsuit in the 600 units out there in the bayview area, i can tell you i had three other planned unit development file $1 million permits each to do compliance because they thought they were next. for those property owners whose unexpected consequences but it was good, we know that when we file lawsuits other property owners take note of that. let's look
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at some before and after. this first one is supervisor kim's district, a residential guest room before and after. we have an extreme case here. this is when the property owner didn't know what was going on. >>supervisor scott weiner: what street in in district 8? >> this was on san jose avenue. >>supervisor scott weiner: how long did it take? >> the homeowner abandoned
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the property. these are ditch -- difficult cases to deal with. the department is working on a pilot program working really well in boston. we had one of our first training sessions on this a couple fridays ago where we are working with code enforcement and trying to identify and inter seed on these types of properties before they get this bad and get people to say the sf mental health association has an excellent peer group that deal with hoarding and cluttering because we don't want to see someone displaced but we also don't want to have a situation where you have a lot of health issues, egress, fires, it's. in this case, the property owner was able to get in and do this and clean this rather quickly